A Day in ViasFriday, 20 July 2007
The wall behind chairs for our dinning room table has been taking some hits over the last couple of years so we planned to set aside this whole day to find, purchase, and put up a chair rail moulding for the chairs to bump into. We’d already determined that the wall is brique, a 4 inch wide red clay hollow block which is being used lately for some wall construction. Our exterior walls are ancient and 2 foot thick stone, but some of our interior walls were built with brique as part of a recent renovation. It’s better than 2X4 wood stud construction and a different type of hardware is required to attach anything to it. I’ve learned that knowing what the wall is made of saves multiple trips to the hardware store. So with a tape measure, a dictionary, and a notepad upon which I’d jotted the length and several translated words like “molding” and “chair,” I took off for the new BricoMan in Villeneuve le Beziers. This place obviously took its design tips from Home Depot (or maybe vice-versa) and a helpful employee pointed me toward the “moulure.” I had to show the word to him on my notepad since no matter how far I stuck my lips out, he couldn’t understand what I was looking for. It came in several materials of 200 cm (69 inch) lengths. I took a rough finished oak piece, found the attaching hardware, and asked another helpful BricoMan employee what kind of apparatus I needed to attach this board to “brique”? He had a good snicker at my baby talk and pointed to a screw/molly combination and said, “That’s the best.” I was asking another question in the paint department and the only answer I got was “It’s time for lunch, we’re closing.” So I paid for all my stuff at the counter, said “bon appetite” to the nice lady and came home to put it up.
First I beveled each end, then sanded the rough spots and put two coats of white paint on it. Then I drilled three holes in the molding and got the height right and drilled the three holes in the wall. The drill bit went through the front face of the brique and into the hollow spot. I found I had to drill through the back face of the brique to get the molly to go in far enough. The big thing I learned is that I had to use a flashlight to find the interior hole and then hammer the molly into it or the whole principle of the molly wouldn’t work. It has to expand against the back hole, not the front hole. I got all the mollys inserted perfectly, put up the molding and tightened the three screws. If the molding is still on the wall when I get up tomorrow morning I will declare it a major victory.
After cleaning up the trail I’d left from the courtyard to the dining room, we went over to the Bruno’s at for aperitifs with cold Muscat de Rivesaltes. Alain pointed out a window sill on the front of the house that he said was from the 1600’s. He assured us that most of our house was built during that time also.
We had a late dinner of leftover gazpacho and couscous in the courtyard then got a good seat at L’Amandine in the center of town for the regular summer Friday night Bal Musette (dance). We ordered a drink and an ice cream and jumped right in spinning and dipping and twirling across the town square. If our friends Clay and Suzanne were here they could teach us some cool moves, but we were obviously faking it. Grape farmers from Vias’ surrounding farms got dressed up with their wives and made this a serious event. I don’t know when or where they learned to dance, but those couples moved together like they’ve been doing this for a lot of Fridays. The band (keyboard and accordion) also played some line dances that everyone but us knew – the town square was totally filled with dancers of all ages. The whole evening makes me wonder in how many other little villages all over
Afterwards we were walking through the town and heard fireworks from the beach, so we walked to where we thought we could see them. The amusement park (Europark) at